Sol Floersheim: New Mexico Jewish Pioneer & Empire Builder

Sol Floersheim

Values Codes I – H – E – L – P


Sol Floersheim was born in Hamburg, Germany in 1856.


Along the way . . .

In 1879, Sol Floersheim came to the United States, settling briefly in New York.

There, he worked in the matzo (unleavened bread)factories.

In 1880, Floersheim moved to Trinidad, Colorado.

He worked for the Rosenwalds, a merchant family, for a few months while learning English.

Floersheim left the Rosenwalds in the middle of night, journeying to Las Vegas, New Mexico.


Las Vegas, New Mexico

Sol Floersheim worked as a monthly liquor deliveryman for the saloons along the Achison, Topeka, and Santa Fe (AT&SF) railroad line.

This was dangerous work with threats of robbery and death. So, despite the $60 per month salary, Sol quit and returned to Las Vegas, New Mexico.

From 1880 to about 1888, he worked for the Charles Ilfeld Company as a clerk and collector.

Charles Iifeld Store, Las Vegas, NM, circa 1886. #WS3185

Charles Ilfeld Store, Las Vegas, NM, circa 1886, #WS3185, still standing today.

Twice a year, he collected wool and sheep from ranchers. Sometimes the ranchers withheld their goods and paid their debts with gold dollars.

Floersheim was a good worker, who learned the sheep-raising business well and did not alienate the ranchers when performing his collection duties.

He was honest, pleasant, and had some medical knowledge with which to help the ranchers with home cures.

In 1883, he earned $1,000 per week and by 1886 he earned $1,350 per week.

Sol Floersheim was a good salesman and was instrumental in growing the Ilfeld’s business to include wholesaling.

In 1888, Floersheim decided to open his own store, called the Floersheim Mercantile Company.

Since there were over 25 Jewish merchants in Las Vegas, New Mexico and the surrounding cities, Floersheim opened his store in Waltrous, New Mexico.

Soon, he relocated the store to the mountain town of Ocate, in Mora County.

His wife, Emma Floersheim, ran the Ocate store, while Sol continued to work as a salesman and collector.

In 1893, the Floersheims moved up the AT&SF line to Springer, New Mexico.

In 1897, Sol Floersheim bought out H .M. Porter’s land holdings, comprising half of Springer and parcels of land throughout New Mexico and Colorado.

His property now included the Jaritas Ranch (purchased so that Sol could raise sheep), a retail store in Springer, the Jacobs & Clothier general store, and the Springer Mercantile & Banking Company.  

In 1897, Floersheim entered into a partnership on the ranch with Harold C. Abbott.

Their cattle brand was “AF,” even after Abbott stopped investing in the ranch.

The entire Floersheim family played a role in this business.

Sol and Emma managed the properties. Their son, Carl, managed Floersheim Mercantile Company of Springer.

Another son, Milton, handled the family’s retail store in Roy, New Mexico.

Ben, the middle son, took care of the ranch.

Sol made sure that his daughter, Viola, then married to Sidney Rosenwald, held an equal share in all of the family’s holdings.

By 1912, the Jaritas Ranch had grown to 63,000 acres with about 150 miles of fence.

In 1914, Sol Floersheim added 600 head of full-blooded Rambouillet bucks to his herd.

Twenty miles of the Canadian River runs through the ranch. The property contains 25 water tanks and reservoirs, and 30 wells with windmills and numerous fish ponds, making Jaritas one of the best watered ranches in New Mexico.

Other businesses included: the Floersheim-Blackwell Company in Clayton and Des Moines, the Cimarron Mercantile Company in Cimarron, a store in Tramperos Arroyo, holding in the M. B. Goldberg Company and the Scouring Mill Company of Tucumcari, and holdings in the Lawrence-Wardenburg Mercantile Company, which Sol Floersheim also directed.



Sol and Emma Floersheim were affiliated Congregation Aaron in Trinidad, Colorado, where all four children attended religious school.  The rabbi was Leopold Freudenthal.

After Viola’s marriage in 1911, the family became affiliated with Temple Albert in Albuquerque, New Mexico.



In 1884, Sol Floersheim married Emma Blumenthal.

Rabbi Joseph Gluck, the first rabbi of Congregation Montefiore, officiated at the wedding.

Charles Ilfeld was a witness.

Temple Montefiore, Vas Vegas, New Mexico, circa 1890.

Congregation Montefiore, Las Vegas, New Mexico, circa 1890, #WS7658

Sol and Emma had four children: Carl (1886-1976), Viola (b. 1889), Ben (b. 1891), and Milton (b. 1892).

Sol Floersheim died in 1946 in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

The Jaritas Ranch was owned and operated by three generations of Floersheims: Sol, his son Ben, and Ben’s son, Donald.



  • Floyd S. Fierman, “Sol Floersheim: Jewish Rancher and Merchant in Northern New Mexico,” Western States Jewish Historical Quarterly 14/4.

Samantha Silver is the curator for this Sol Floersheim exhibit.